*** and 1/2 out of ****
Thank goodness for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. It has invigorated the vampire movie – a sub-genre that has recently been defanged by those rotten Twilight movies. This isn't fake, sparkling teen vampires horror, but true, down to the roots, creepy, atmospheric horror.
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is an Iranian made (but shot in Taft, California) vampire film shot in stark black-and-white and is influenced by spaghetti westerns. The girl in question (Sheila Vand) is a lonesome vampire who stalks people in a small Iranian ghost-town known as Bad City. Complications arise when she meets Arash (Arash Marandi) – a young man who is struggling with pretty much every aspect of his life – and begins to have feelings for him.
Writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour creates a fever dream of dread throughout, yet is able to infuse the movie with humor (The girl meets a stoned Arash dressed as Dracula as he is returning home after a Halloween party.), and refreshingly eschews the hipster nihilism that plagues most current horror films, for the girl has scruples and does pick and choose her victims.
This is an “art” film and the pacing is deliberately slow, but it is never boring because the characters as well as the visuals are intriguing. And there are some mild scares and one particularly good kill when the victims index finger is bitten off then shoved in his mouth.
This is just good, effective horror and will stay with you long after you see it. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is currently playing at the Prytania Theatre for a week long limited engagement.